Fuji FinePix E500 4.1-Megapixel Digital Camera - Wide Angle and Sharp Photos
Written: Sep 21, 2005 (Updated Oct 11, 2005)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
- User Rating: Excellent
Ease of Use:
Pros:Price, features, manual controls, image quality, wide angle, AA batteries, real aperture
Cons:Expensive xD cards, poorly-implemented manual focus
The Bottom Line: I highly recommend Fuji FinePix E500 if you want an inexpensive, compact, cool yet capable camera with 4.1-megapixel resolution, wide angle...
Having had good experience with the 5.2-Megapixel Fuji FinePix E510 (aside from a manufacturing defect), I decided to check out the 4.1-Megapixel Fuji FinePix E500. The E500 has all of the attractive features of the E510, including the 2-inch LCD screen, optical zooming viewfinder, wide-angle optics, pop-up flash and manual controls. The list is impressive as is its low price.
What is Fuji FinePix E500?
The Fuji FinePix E500 is a 4.1-Megapixel stylish digital camera with a 3.2x optical zoom (28-91 mm equivalent with maximum f/2.8 aperture at wide angle), a 2-inch LCD screen, powered by two AA-size batteries.
The camera features ISO range of ISO 80-400 (automatic or manual), automatic and manual white balance, automatic and manual focusing. It also has Aperture and Shutter Priority modes as well as a full Manual mode. The camera stores pictures on xD-Picture memory cards (16 MB xD card is supplied) and features USB connection to PC and Mac computers.
The camera is made from plastic and metal and looks stylish. It has a lens that is flush with the camera body when retracted and the metal lens lid (two halves) covers it. The bezel around the lens can be removed to accept the optional accessories.
The rear houses a 2-inch LCD screen, zoom control, a metal disc for menu control and other functions with a MENU/OK button in the middle as well as other buttons and a playback/shoot mechanical switch. It also has a mechanical flash release button and an exposure compensation button.
The camera's top deck features a power on/off button, a mode wheel (Auto/A/S/M/Video, scene modes) and a shutter release button.
The bottom of the camera has a plastic tripod mount and the battery/memory card compartment lid. The side has a small rubber-like lid that covers a USB, A/V and 3V DC power ports. The lid has no hinge, but you just remove it and set aside.
I inserted the memory card and my two rechargeable AA 1600 mAh NiMH batteries and discovered that the battery compartment door requires quite an effort to close. But once closed, I was ready to shoot.
The camera feels sturdy. Its controls are within easy reach. But, just as the E510, the menu system is not very convenient to use. At least it is better than the one on Fuji FinePix F10 and I could use the camera and all of its features without reading the manual.
You have to know that the F button on the back camera panel is used to adjust sensitivity (Auto, ISO 80, 100, 200, 400), resolution (4M Fine, 4M Normal, etc.) and color modes (Standard, Chrome (higher contrast and saturation) and B&W).
The camera has a retractable lens that extends and has a lens cover that opens when the camera is powered on. When the camera is powered off, the lens retracts and the lens cover closes.
The camera is very flexible, but with an oversight. Unlike some other cameras that either use fixed aperture or two-step aperture (both designed to reduce costs), the E500 has real adjustable aperture and has aperture priority, shutter priority and manual mode. It also lets you focus manually if you wish. But the manual focusing is not as well implemented as what I saw on its competitors.
Firstly, you have to hold the exposure compensation button while pushing on the zoom control to focus manually, which is not very convenient. Secondly, the camera does not magnify the center of the screen or show you the distance scale. Thus, it is rather difficult to confirm focus. I encountered the same problem with the E510.
The camera can be used in full auto mode, scene modes or manual modes (A, S, M). Very impressive for the price. The camera comes pre-set to Auto mode. You do not have to do anything other than point and shoot - the camera takes care of the rest.
You press the shutter release button halfway to make camera focus and the camera shows you (on the LCD screen) where it focused. Then you take the picture by pressing the shutter release button all the way. In auto mode, the camera can be used by anyone who can point and shoot.
The preprogrammed scene modes give you more control. In addition, you can select Macro mode at a push of a button. The camera has no dedicated review mode on the mode selector, but you activate it using a switch between the shooting and review modes. I like this idea, but would prefer a button rather than a switch.
The Aperture and Shutter Priority modes as well as the Manual mode give you even more control.
I have not tried the macro mode yet.
LCD and Viewfinder
The camera has an optical viewfinder and a 2-inch LCD screen that "gains-up" in the darker environments and has adjustable brightness. It works well overall, even in darkness, but could have higher resolution. The coverage is about 100% for the monitor, but the viewfinder (as is usual for optical viewfinders) is on the tight side.
The camera takes about 3 seconds to power up and extend its lens. Not too fast, but not too slow either. The shutdown takes about the same time.
The shutter lag, when pre-focused, is very fast. The focusing is fast in bright light, slower in darker environments, but is still rather fast. But sometimes the camera fails to focus (if it is too dark).
The camera can take pictures at intervals of about 2 seconds until the memory card is full in single-frame mode.
You can fully zoom in or out in about 2 seconds.
Overall, the camera is average in speed.
The camera should allow you to take more than 200 pictures on one battery charge (if you use high-capacity NiMH batteries). I took about 50 pictures without low battery warning appearing.
The camera uses USB connection to transfer pictures to a computer. You can also remove the xD memory card and use a memory card reader (if you have one). The file transfer using the camera USB port is average at about 700 KB/s. I do not use the software that was provided with the camera since I have Adobe Photoshop CS2.
The spring-loaded popup flash worked well, but I would like more power by default. The flash range is slightly limited.
The camera has a good white balance system overall, but I had difficulties with incandescent light in Auto mode. Unlike yellowish cast produced by most cameras in incandescent lighting, the photos came out too reddish. Switching to the Tungsten mode helped restore order. The skin colors are slightly warm, but pleasing.
The camera produces very good photos with well-exposed, sharp, contrasty images. There is some chromatic aberration, but not too much and the photos are generally very sharpness corner to corner. There was some chromatic aberration (purple fringing) at wide angle, but not too much.
The noise situation is typical for a compact camera. Lower ISO settings feature lower noise with higher ISO suitable for small prints only.
If you are printing 6x4 pictures, the noise should not be visible at all. And at lower ISO settings, enlargements up to 10x8 are possible.
Very low price, features, manual controls, image quality, wide angle capability (28mm equivalent), AA batteries, real aperture, sharp optics.
Some plastic elements (battery door, tripod mount), expensive xD cards, poorly-implemented manual focus.
I highly recommend Fuji FinePix E500 if you want an inexpensive, compact, cool yet capable camera with 4.1-megapixel resolution, wide angle capability and sharp optics. It is flexible and inexpensive.
My Reviews of Other Digital Cameras
Canon Powershot S2 IS Digital Camera Review
Canon Powershot S1 IS Digital Camera Review
Canon PowerShot A520 4-Megapixel Digital Camera Review
Canon PowerShot A510 3.2-Megapixel Digital Camera Review
Canon PowerShot A95 5-Megapixel Digital Camera Review
Canon PowerShot S500 5-Megapixel Digital Camera Review
Canon PowerShot S410 / Digital IXUS 430 Digital Camera Review
Canon PowerShot SD200 3.2-Megapixel Digital Camera Review
Canon PowerShot SD300 4-Megapixel Digital Camera Review
Canon PowerShot SD400 5-Megapixel Digital Camera Review
Canon PowerShot SD500 7.1-Megapixel Digital Camera Review
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5 5-Megapixel Digital Camera with 12x Optical Stabilized Zoom Review
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20 5-Megapixel Digital Camera with 12x Optical Stabilized Zoom Review
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ1 4-Megapixel Digital Camera with 6x Optical Stabilized Zoom Review
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ2 5-Megapixel Digital Camera with 6x Optical Stabilized Zoom Review
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ4 4-Megapixel Digital Camera with 12x Optical Stabilized Zoom Review
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ15 4-Megapixel Digital Camera Review
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ3 Digital Camera Review
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ2 Digital Camera with 12x Leica Lens and Optical Image Stabilizer Review
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1 Digital Camera with Optical Image Stabilizer and 12x Leica Lens Review
Olympus Camedia C-765 4.0-Megapixel Digital Camera with USB and ED Lens Review
Olympus Stylus 410 4-Megapixel All-Weather Digital Camera Review
Olympus Camedia D-580 / C-460 4.0-Megapixel Digital Camera Review
Olympus D-565 Zoom Digital 4-Megapixel Camera Review
Olympus D-575 Zoom Digital Camera Review
Olympus D-595 Zoom Digital Camera Review
Olympus Stylus 500 Digital Camera Review
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-H1 Digital Camera Review
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-M1 Digital Camera Review
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-P200 Digital Camera Review
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-S40 Digital Camera Review
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-S60 Digital Camera Review
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-T1 Digital Camera Review
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-T33 Digital Camera Review
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-T7 Digital Camera Review
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W5 Digital Camera Review
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W7 Digital Camera Review
Fuji FinePix A345 Digital Camera Review
Fuji FinePix A350 Digital Camera Review
Fuji FinePix E500 Digital Camera Review
Fuji FinePix E510 Digital Camera Review
Fuji FinePix F10 Digital Camera Review
Kodak EasyShare Z700 Digital Camera Review
Kodak EasyShare Z740 Digital Camera Review
Kodak EasyShare Z7590 Digital Camera Review
Minolta DiMAGE Z2 Digital Camera Review
Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z5 Digital Camera Review
Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z6 Digital Camera Review
Pentax *istD Digital SLR Camera Review
Read all 4 Reviews
Write a Review
Amount Paid (US$): 170
This Camera is a Good Choice if You Want Something... Flexible Enough for Enthusiasts